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On Christmas Eve, Rachel and I were settling in for a long weekend of food and relaxation. We had just finished watching The Happiest Season and were cuddling and reveling in all the feels. As the little spoon, Rachel craned her neck to look over her shoulder at me. “Hey, can I ask you a question?”
“Would you marry me?”
What came next was not glamorous. I burst into tears and said, I kid you not, “For realsies?”
Rachel turned around to face me on the couch. “Yes, for realsies.”
We hugged, we kissed. Rachel said, “Stay there, I’ll be right back.” She hurried into another room and came back with a small box in her pocket. At my confused expression, she assured me, “It’s not a ring.” Instead, when I opened it, I saw a delicate silver necklace with an evergreen branch pendant.
“It symbolizes all the hikes we’ve gone on, and this place where we met,” she said.
“And it symbolizes our love, which will never die,” I said, still crying. Like, really uncomfortably now, because my eye makeup was getting into my eyes and it was starting to sting. I started to move toward the bathroom where I could address the issue, but I couldn’t stand the idea of being even one room away from Rachel, so I grabbed her hand and made her stand at the sink beside me while I wiped at my eyes.
It was all so domestic, so ridiculous, and absolutely perfect to me.
Rachel had arranged with some friends to meet up at a bar afterwards to celebrate, but a recent COVID scare meant several were in isolation. When we had discussed Dream Proposal Scenarios, I thought that was something I would want, but I found it really lovely to just have the evening to the two of us. We put on our winter clothes and took a walk through the falling snow down to English Bay, where we took pictures by the lights, by the rings, and by the barge (“As a time stamp”).
We reminisced about everything that led up to this moment. How we had been friends for a year when we first met. How I asked her out while she was dating someone else because she said she wanted to try polyamory, but she turned me down. How I laid on the floor and sang sad songs to myself, then picked myself up and went back to being friends. How she broke up with the other woman and we spent day after day together before finally cuddling, holding hands, kissing, making it official.
From the beginning of our relationship in June 2019, I was an over-communicator and over-planner. I knew I liked her so much, so after dating for only a couple months, I said, “I’m not saying I’m anywhere near wanting this now, but I do know that marriage is a thing I’ve always wanted. If we stay together, I need to know if that is on the table for you.” She said it was.
During Pride 2020, Rachel and I tried to make it special, which for us meant creating a five-year plan. After discussing driving licenses and country living, I pointed out one glaring omission. We came away from Pride with a monthly budget allotted to a future “Fancy Party.”
By the summer of 2021, I knew I wanted to marry her. But I didn’t know how this worked for queer women, so I asked Rachel in the round about way we talked about these things. “If I, hypothetically, was thinking about how our Fancy Party got kicked off, like you know, someone asked a question of someone else…who would do the asking?” Rachel laughed, and said, “Me, if that’s okay.” “Yes!” I said. “I want to be asked.”
In October 2021, Rachel and I went on a vacation around Britsh Columbia, and during one amazingly lazy day, we drank wine in a hot tub and planned our wedding. I’m sorry, Fancy Party. We had similar desires and goals, and the mood was great, so I kept making intense eye contact at Rachel. She said, “I could ask you right now, but I want to be sober when it happens.” Which, okay, FAIR.
As the end of the year approached, several of our friends either got engaged or started talking about ring shopping and proposal planning. First of all, I have to say that I was so happy for them! But second of all, it felt like it was Everyone Gets An Engagement time, and a part of me wanted our moment to be special. It was impacting Rachel, too. In mid-December, she said she was feeling a lot of pressure to propose, to live up to other peoples’ stories, to do things based on other people rather than on us. I assured her that I didn’t want or need a big proposal, and that we could wait as long as we needed.
So IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when just a couple weeks later, she popped the question!
And that brings us right back to the start of this story, when on Christmas Eve I agreed to marry the most thoughtful, wonderful woman in the world.